Caneuon Gwerin

Archwilio ac arddangos caneuon Gwerin o Gymru / Exploring and showcasing folk songs from Wales

Archive for the tag “folk song”

Dyledwyr ŷm i Seinio Clod

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Ble oeddech chi am 6 o’r gloch ar fore dydd Nadolig? Roeddwn i a fy nheulu yng Nghapel John Hughes ym Mhontrobert, Maldwyn (llun uchod oddi ar www.montgomeryshiregs.org.uk), ar gyfer y Plygain ben bore (gwelwch fy mlog o flwyddyn dwethaf am esboniad o’r draddodiad Plygain). Dyma un o dim ond ychydig o Blygeiniau sydd dal yn digwydd yn gynar ar fore Nadolig. Roedd y capel fach yn llawn a chawsom dau rownd efo chwech pharti/unigolion yn cymryd rhan. Cenais Cloch Erfyl efo fy nhad a fy mrawd yn y rownd gyntaf a Dyledwyr ŷm i Seinio Clod fel deuawd efo fy mrawd yn y ail rownd.

Darganfyddais Dyledwyr ŷm i Seinio Clod eleni wrth wrando ar fy nghopi o’r CD Ar Dymor Gaeaf: Carolau Plygain. Cefais fy nhrawio gan y llinell harmoni agos iawn, yn enwedig effeithrwydd y llinell disgynnol yn y cymal olaf. Roeddwn i’n falch o allu dod o hyd i’r gân yn llyfr Geraint Vaughan-Jones, Mwy o Hen Garolau Plygain.

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Suo Gân

(Llun gan stivoberlin ger Flickr)

[See below for English] Dyma gân prydferth sydd, fel Y Deryn Pur, wedi ei fabwysiadu gan y genre classurol a phop-classurol. Chwiliwch ar YouTube neu Spotify ac mae’r rhan fwyaf o ganlyniadau gan gorau neu cantorion fel Bryn Terfyl, Aled Jones a Charlottle Church ac mae sawl arall gan offerynnwyr, megis Elinor Bennett. Ymddangosodd y gânyn ffilm Steven Speilberg Empire of the Sun sydd wedi gwneud hi’n adnabyddus ar hyd a lled y byd. Mae hi mor boblogaidd fel gallwch clywed hi ar CD o hwiangerddi gan Fisher-Price (Tender Lullabies, 2013) a CD o ganeuon ‘Albaneg’ o’r enw Spirit of the Glen gan The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Universal Classics and Jazz, 2008)! Mae hi hefyd wedi trafeulu mor bell ag Ynysoedd y Philippines gyda’r Jazz-Choir of the State Children Philharmonic Society o Fanila yn dod a’r gan ‘nôl’ i Gymru wrth ei ganu yn Eisteddfod rhyngwaldol Llangollen yn 2013. Ond roedd Suo Gân yn boblogaidd yn America cyn Empire of the Sun. Gwrandewch ar y contralto Merle Alcock yn canu geiriau Saesneg ar yr alaw yn 1923 ar wefan Library of Congress yr UDA. Ar wefan cafe mudcat mae yna drafodaeth am y ffaith bod yr alaw rwan yn cael ei ddefnyddio ar gyfer emyn yn America. Mae hi weithiau yn cael ei ddrysu efo cân Nadoligaidd neu crefyddol achos mae pobl wedi defnyddio’r alaw ar gyfer geiriau newydd. Ysgrifennodd y tenor Gwyddelig John McDermott, er enghraifft, geiriau Nadoligaidd ar yr alaw. Read more…

Cariad Cynaf

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Un o fy hoff gantorion gwerin yw Julie Murphy. Des i ar draws hi’n gyntaf pan cefais CD hi a Dylan Fowler, Ffawd, yn anrheg Dolig pan oeddwn i’n 16 mlwydd oed. Ar y pryd roeddwn i’n mynychu Coleg Rhyngwladol Unedig yr Iwerydd yn Llanilltud Fawr, Bro Morgannwg, sydd yn coleg chweched dosbarth preswyl. Mae hi’n CD arbennig a doeddwn i methu mynd a llawer o CDs efo fi i’r coleg felly gwrandewais ar yr un yma drosodd a throsodd a throsodd. Ymunais â band gwerin yn y coleg a roedd y CD yma – a ffordd unigrwy Julie o gyflwyno caneuon – yn ddylanwad mawr ar y ffordd roeddwn i’n dechrau dysgu a gosod caneuon i’r band.

Erbyn hyn dwi wedi dysgu ac yn perffromio tua hanner y caneuon ar y CD (gweler y post ar Y Bachgen Main) ond dyma’r cyntaf i mi ddysgu oddi ar y CD. Fel Dod Dy Law mae Cariad Cyntaf yn gân fyr ond pwerus iawn. Mae pob pennill yn cyflwyno dedlwedd newydd o gariad a serch cryf a mae fel petai’r holl gân yn adeiladu tuag at y llinell prydferth “Yn dy lygaid caf wirionedd / Yn serenu gras a rhinwedd” yn y bennill olaf.

calon ar y traeth, gan chsh/il via flickr

Calon ar y traeth, gan chsh/il via flickr

Yn y gân clywn rhywun yn dweud wrth ei gariad bod o’n caru hi a bod o eisiau priodi hi. Monolog yw’r gân felly dyden ni ddim yn clywed ateb y ferch. Dwi wastad yn dweud wrth gynulleidfaoedd bod rhaid iddyn nhw dyfalu beth oedd ateb y ferch ond bod yr alaw drist yn rhoi syniad i ni. Ond efallai dydy hi ddim yn fater syml o ddyn yn caru merch sydd ddim yn caru fo yn ôl – efallai bod y ferch yn ei garu ond bod rhywbeth, megis rhieni ymyrrus, yn mynd i gadw’r ddau ar wahan a dyna pam mae’r bachgen yn ‘glaf’ ac mae’r alaw mor alarus.

Gall y llinell olaf cael ei ymestyn i agor y possibilrwydd o arbrofi yn gerddorol. Dwi wedi perfformio’r gân yma ar ben fy hun, efo Shanti (fy nghyn grŵp gwerin), fel deuawd efo Patrick Dean ac efo’r Foxglove Trio a’r llinell olaf yw’r un mwyaf diddorol yn gerddorol bob tro. Daw’r recordiad uchod o’n parti i lansio CD cyntaf Y Foxglove Trio o’r enw Like Diamond Glances. Gallwch prynnu copi o’r CD (£5 +P&P) drwy ebostio thefoxglovetrio @ gmail.com.

Gwreiddiau

Dwi wedi methu dod o hyd i lawer o wybodaeth am y gân brydferth yma. Dywedai Merêd bod y gân yn dod o’r 18fed ganrif ac ar wefan prifysgol Rydychen mae’n dweud bod hi wedi cael ei gasglu yn c.1912. Dwi ddim yn gwybod, serch hyn, pwy wnaeth casglu’r gân gan bwy na phryd. Os ydych chi’n gwybod, gadewch sylw isod!

Mae’n ddiddorol i nodi bod llawer o gantorion yn gadael allan y trydydd pennill. Dwi ddim yn meddwl bod yn pennill yma wedi cael ei fenthyg gan gân arall – rhywbeth sy’n digwydd yn aml – felly os oes unrhywun yn gwybod o ble mae’r pennill yma wedi dod gadewch sylw!

Ble nesaf

Mae Gustav Holst wedi gwneud gosodiad corawl o Cariad Cyntaf a gwnaeth Bryn Terfel canu’r gân fel rhan o noson olaf y proms yn 2008. Mae fideo ar gael ar vimeo. Mae’r gosodiad yma (3 pennill yn unig) ar gael ar ei CD o’r enw First Love: Songs from the British Isles (Deutsche Grammaphon, 2008).

Dyma lle gallwch dod o hyd i fersiynnau mwy gwerinol:

  • The Foxglove Trio, Like Diamond Glances, 2013 – 4 pennill
  • Sian James, Gweini Tymor, Sain, 2010 A Pur, Recordiau Bos Records, 2001 – 3 pennill. Gwrandewch at youtube.
  • Ríoghnach Connolly – 4 pennill. Gwrandewch ar soundcloud.
  • 9bach, 9bach, Sain, 2009 – 4 pennill
  • Eleri Llwyd, Welsh Rare Beat 2, Finders Keepers Records, 2007 – 4 pennill
  • Meredydd Evans, Traditional Welsh Songs, Essential Media Group LLC, 2009 – 4 pennill. Gwelwch mwy o wybodaeth a’r nodiadau llawes ar wefan Folkways.
  • Huw M, Cân o’r enw Michelle Michelle (Cariad Cyntaf), Os Mewn Sŵn, 2010 Rasal Miwsig, – gyda geiriau gwreiddiol ychwanegol.
  • John Eifion, cân o’r enw Y Cariad Cyntaf (Mae Prydferthwch Ail I Eden), John Eifion, Sain, 2009.
  • Carreg Lafar, Profiad, Sain, 2002 – 4 pennill
  • Rachel, O’r Dwy Ochr / Both Sides, Sain, 2003 – 3 pennill.
  • Julie Murphy & Dylan Fowler, Ffawd, Fflach, 2001 – 4 pennill.

Hefyd…
Mae trac o’r enw Lliw Gwyn Rhosyn yr Haf / Cariad Cyntaf ar CD Carwyn Tywyn o’r enw Alawon o’r Stryd (2011) ond nid dyma alaw y gân Cariad Cyntaf.
Mae Ghazalaw yn defnyddio Cariad Cyntaf mewn un o’u caneuon ond dyd hi ddim ar gael ar CD eto.

Geiriau

Mae prydferthwch ail i Eden
Yn dy fynwes gynnes, feinwen,
Fwyn gariadus liwus lawen.
Seren syw, clyw di’r claf.

Addo’th gariad i mi heno,
Gwnawn amodau cyn ymado
I ymrwymo, doed a ddelo;
Rho dy gred, a dwed y doi.

Liwus lonnach, serch fy mynwes,
Wiwdeg orau ‘rioed a gerais
Mi’th gymeraf yn gymhares;
Rho dy gred, a d’wed y doi.

Yn dy lygaid caf wirionedd
Yn serennu gras a rhinwedd,
Mae dy weld i mi’n orfoledd:
Seren syw, clyw di’r claf.

First Love

One of my favourite folk singers is Julie Murphy. I first came across her when I got hers and Dylan Fowler’s CD, Ffawd, as a Christmas present when I was 16 years old. At the time I was attending an international sixth form boarding college called United World College of the Atlantic in Llantwit Major, Vale of Glamorgan. Partly because it’s an incredible album and partly because I wasn’t able to take many of my CDs with me to college I listened to this CD over and over again. I joined a folk band at the college and this CD – and especially Julie’s unique way of presenting songs – was a big influence on the way I started to learn and arrange songs for the band.

By now I’ve learnt and regularly perform about half of the songs on the CD (see the post on Y Bachgen Main) but this is the first song I learnt. Like Dod Dy Law it’s a short but powerful song. Each verse portrays a different image of strong love and lust and it’s as if the whole song builds towards the beautiful line “Yn dy lygaid caf wirionedd / Yn serenu gras a rhinwedd” (“In your eyes I find truth / That shines like stars of grace and virtue”) in the last verse.

First love, from sodahead.com

First love, from sodahead.com

In the song we hear someone telling his lover that he loves her and that he wants to marry her. It’s a monologue so we don’t get to hear her response. I always tell audiences that they have to guess what her answer was to the question about getting married but that the sad melody gives us a clue. But perhaps it’s not a simple matter of unrequited love – perhaps the girl does love him back but something, such as meddling parents, is going to keep them apart which is why the boy is lovesick and the tune is so mournful.

The last line of the song can be extended to open up all sorts of musical experiments. I’ve performed this song as a soloist, with Shanti (one of my previous folk groups), as a duet with Patrick Dean and with The Foxglove Trio and it’s always the last line which provides the most musical interest. The above recording comes from the launch party for The Foxglove Trio’s debut EP, Like Diamond Glances. You can buy a copy of the CD (£5 +p&p) by emailing thefoxglovetrio @ gmail.com.

Origins

I haven’t been able to find much information about this beautiful song. Merêd says that the song comes from the 18th century and the Oxford University website says that it was collected in c.1912. I don’t know, however, who collected the song from whom or when. If you know, please leave a comment below!

It’s interesting to note that lots of singers leave out the third verse. I don’t think this verse has been borrowed from another song – as is often the case – so if anyone knows its origin please leave a comment!

Where next

Gustav Holst has written a choral arrangement of Cariad Cyntaf and Bryn Terfel sang it as part of his Last Night of the Proms performance in 2008. There’s a video of this on vimeo. This arrangement (3 verses only) is available on a CD called First Love: Songs from the British Isles (Deutsche Grammaphon, 2008).

Here’s where you can find some more folky arrangements:

  • The Foxglove Trio, Like Diamond Glances, 2013 – 4 verses
  • Sian James, Gweini Tymor, Sain, 2010 A Pur, Recordiau Bos Records, 2001 – 3 verses. Listen on youtube.
  • Ríoghnach Connolly – 4 verses. Listen on soundcloud.
  • 9bach, 9bach, Sain, 2009 – 4 verses
  • Eleri Llwyd, Welsh Rare Beat 2, Finders Keepers Records, 2007 – 4 verses
  • Meredydd Evans, Traditional Welsh Songs, Essential Media Group LLC, 2009 – 4 verses. See more information and the sleeve notes on the Folkways website.
  • Huw M, a song called ‘Michelle Michelle (Cariad Cyntaf)’, Os Mewn Sŵn, Rasal Miwsig, 2010 – with additional original lyrics.
  • John Eifion, a song called ‘Y Cariad Cyntaf (Mae Prydferthwch Ail i Eden)’, John Eifion, Sain, 2009
  • Carreg Lafar, Profiad, Sain, 2002 – 4 verses
  • Rachel, O’r Dwy Ochr / Both Sides, Sain, 2003 – 3 verses.
  • Julie Murphy & Dylan Fowler, Ffawd, Fflach, 2001 – 4 verses.

Also…
There’s a track called Lliw Gwyn Rhosyn yr Haf / Cariad Cyntaf on Carwyn Tywyn’s CD called Alawon o’r Stryd (2011) but it isn’t the tune for the song Cariad Cyntaf.
Ghazalaw use Cariad Cyntaf in one of their songs but it isn’t available on CD yet.

Lyrics

In the sleeve notes of Meredydd Evans, Traditional Welsh Songs, originally released on LP in 1954, Merêd wrote “the words are highly metophorical in parts and hence no translation could convey the beauty of them.” I think it’s worth trying nevertheless! This translation is adapted slightly from martindardis.com

There is beauty only second to Eden
In your warm bosom, fair maiden.
Dear loved one, bright and happy;
Beautiful star, hear this lovesick one.

Promise your love to me tonight,
We’ll make vows before we leave
To engage, come what may.
Place your trust, and say you’ll come.

Bright happier one, love of my breast
Best and fairest that I ever loved
I will take you as a partner
Place your trust, and say you’ll come.

In your eyes I find truth
That shines like stars of grace and virtue;
For me, seeing you is a joy.
Beautiful star, hear this lovesick one.

 

Y Bachgen Main

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Penderfynais dechrau’r blog efo un o fy hoff ganeuon gwerin Cymraeg. Dwi’n hoffi’r canu’r gân gan fod y curiad gryf yn galluogi chi i’w canu efo digon o fynd yn y darnau naratif. Mae’r curiad hefyd yn golygu fod unrhyw tynnu nôl ar y tempo yn effeithiol iawn.

Dwi hefyd yn hoffi’r gân oherwydd y stori. Yma cawn bachgen yn cerdded yn y coed sy’n clywed lleisiau dwy ferch yn cael ffrae. Wrth neshau mae o’n sylweddoli taw ei gariad a mam y cariad sydd wrthi. Mae’r mam yn dweud wrth ei ferch bod hi’n hen bryd dod o hyd i ddyn cyflethog iddi ond mae’r ferch yn ymladd yn ôl ac yn dweud bod hi’n digon hapus efo’r bachgen mae hi eisioes yn ei ganlyn. Hyd yn oed, meddai, tasau hi’n cael cynnig holl gyfoeth y byd (“rhannau gwledydd India, sidanau Persia neu aur Periw”) basau’n well ganddi aros efo’i chariad. Mae’r mam yn gwylltio gan rybuddio bydd hi’n gorfod cysgu ar bigau’r drain os nad ydi hi’n gwrthod y bachgen main. Ond mae’r ferch yn adamant yn ei phenderfyniad ac mae’r gân yn gorffen efo’r ymdeimlad tlws fod y ferch sy’n cael cysgu ym mreichiau’r bachgen main mewn gwynfyd.

Mae gan y gân gwreiddiol (gwelwch isod) dwy bennill ychwanegol ond dwi wedi penderfynnu peidio eu canu am sawl rheswm. Dwi’n byw ac yn perfformio gan fwyaf yn Lloegr ac er fod cynulleidfaoedd Saesneg wastad wrth eu boddau yn clywed caneuon yn Gynraeg dwi’n amau bydent yn diflasu efo 6 pennill hir mewn iaith anghyfarwydd. Y rheswm arall, pwysicach, yw fod y gân efo 4 pennill yn gorffen yn hapus. Yn y 2 bennill olaf clywn fod y bachgen wedi gadael y coed a wedi mynd i ffwrdd i’r môr a nad ydy o’n dod nôl. Efallai doedd y bachgen ddim eisiau achosi trafferth rhwng ei gariad a’i mam. Efallai doedd ganddo ddim digon o asgwrn cefn i sefyll i fyny at rieni ei gariad. Efallai sylweddolodd bod mam y ferch yn iawn a byddai’r ferch wedi bod yn anhapus yn byw mewn tlodi er mwyn bod efo’r dyn oedd hi’n meddwl ei bod hi’n caru. Efallai doedd o ddim eisiau mynd i ffwrdd o gwbl. Beth bynnag y rheswm, mae stori’r gân yn tristhau o bennill 5 ymlaen. Bydd digon o amser am ganeuon trist nes ymlaen ond, am y tro, gobeithaf y byddwch chi’n mwynhau gwrando ar fersiwn hapus o’r Bachgen Main sy’n clodfori merched sy’n digon dewr i sefyll fyny at eu mamau!

Y geiriau

(Cymerais y pennillion oddi ar wefan Ffynon efo newidiadau bach i adlewyrchu beth rydw i’n canu.)

Fel yr o’wn i’n rhodio’r caea ddy’ Mawrth diwetha’ o ddyddia’r byd
Mewn lle isel dan goedwig dawel mi glwy’n i ddwy’n ymgomio ‘nghyd,
Nesu wnes yn nes nes atynt nes o’wn i yn y lle a’r fan
A phwy oedd yno yn ymgomio ond f’annwyl gariad i gyda’i mam.

“F’annwyl eneth, ti sydd yma gyda mi â’th ddwy law’n rhydd
Yn lan dy drwsiad yn hardd d’osodiad a minnau am dy fatsio sydd,
Cei fowntio’th geffyl fy nghangen gynnil, a gweision sufyl iawn i’w trin,
A golud bydol sef aur melynion ac arian gloywon ar dy glun.”

“Pe gawn i rannau gwledydd India, sidanau Persia, aur Periw
Gwell gen i’r mab rwyf fi’n ei garu, rwyf fi am sefyll iddo’n driw,”
“Wel os fel yna rwyt ti’n darparu cei gweirio’th gwely ar bigau’r drain
Oni choeli ‘ngeiria bydd chwerw’r chwara os mentri gyda’r bachgen main.”

“Wel gyda’r bachgen main mi fentra, Mam a dwedyd ichi’r gwir,
Gadawai’r moddion i’r cybyddion a mentraf gyda blodau’r sir,
Ei wyneb purwyn a’i wallt melyn ac ar ei ruddiau mae dwy ros
A gwyn ei byd y ferch a fyddo yn ei freichiau’n cysgu’r nos!”

Gwreiddiau

Argraffwyd y geiriau yn gyntaf gan John Jones o Lanrwst. Gellid gweld copi o’r wreiddiol, gan gynnwys sgetsh difyr o beth gall y bachgen wedi edrych fel, ar wefan prifysgol Cardydd fel rhan o’u prosiect baledi Cymreig arlein. Rhif wg35.2.2928 yw’r Bachgen Main. Nid oes awdur ar y papur baled, ond mae hyn yn arferol. Recordiodd Roy Saer William Rowlands yn canu’r Bachgen Main ar ei daith yn Llŷn yn y 1950au a’r 60au.

Yn ôl Mair Wyn Thomas, Llawrplwy’, Trawsfynydd, a ysgrifennodd llythyr i’r Daily Post yn 2006 mae’r gân hefyd ar gael yn ail gyfrol Cerddi Cymru, Abel Jones, Llanrwst. Does dim copi o’r gyfrol hon gennyf i wirio hyn. Mae Mair hefyd yn dweud “mae’r dôn yn Caneuon Ffydd – Rhif 371 fel ‘Cen y Bachgen Main’.

Yn y 1920au sefydlodd Alfred T. Davies o Adran Gymreig y Bwrdd Addysg yn Llundain prosiect i gasglu alawon a thraddodiadau gwerin o Gymru. Y nod oedd i gael prifathrawon yng Nghymru i ddefnyddio eu disgyblion fel casglwyr. Roedd rhaid i’r plant gofyn i’w hen berthnasau am y caneuon, arferion, dywediadau ayyb roedden nhw’n cofio. Syniad diddorol – ysgwn i oes basau caneuon newydd yn dod i’r amlwg tasau ymarfer tebyg yn cael ei geisio heddiw. Yn y 1920au dyn o’r enw David Thomas oedd y Arolygydd Cynorthwyol y Bwrdd Addysg yng Ngheredigion. Roedd o efo diddordeb mawr yn y briosect a felly defnyddiodd ei awdurdod i anog ysgolion Ceredigion i gymryd rhan. Yn ôl Dafydd Ifans (‘Casglu Alawon yn Ysgolion Ceredigion, 1921 – 6’, Canu Gwerin, 2010, Y Lolfa) un o’r caneuon casglwyd gan ddisgyblion Ysgol Pont-siân oedd cân o’r enw ‘Cân Y Bachgen Main’ ond efo’r llinell gyntaf ‘Fel yr oedwwn i’n rhodio’r gaeaf’ felly efallai bod hi’n gân wahanol.

Ble nesaf?

Gallwch clywed Y Bachgen Main ar y CDs canlynol:

  • William Rowlands, Caneuon Plygain & Lloft-Stabal, Sain (SCD 2389), 2003
  • Ffynnon, Debatable Lands, Barcud Coch Red Kite
  • Julie Murphy a Dylan Fowler, Ffawd, Fflach Tradd ‎(CD248H), 2001
  • The Gentle Good, Yr Wylan Fry, Stiwdio Gwellt, 2012.

Hoffwn yn fawr i chi gadael sylwadau ar y gân, y geiriau, a’r blog yn gyffredinol. Ydych chi’n gwybod mwy am wreiddiau’r gân neu am artistiad eraill sydd wedi ei recordio? Oes hoff recordiad gennych? Ydych chi’n canu hi efo alaw new geiriau gwahanol? Gadwech sylw isod!

The Slender Lad

I decided to start this blog with one of my favourite Welsh folk songs. I like singing this song because it’s got a strong beat which means you can sing it with a bit of ‘go’ in the narrative sections. The strong beat also means that pulling back the tempo is very effective.

I also like this song because of its story. Here is a boy walking in the woods when he hears two women arguing. As he gets closer he realises that it’s his lover and her mother. The mum is telling the daughter that it’s high time she should find herself a wealthy husband but the girl fights back and tells her that she’s happy with the boy she’s courting. She says that, even if she’s offered all of the riches in the world (“part of India, Persia’s silks and Peru’s gold”) she’d rather stick with her lover. The mum gets angry and warns that she’ll have to sleep on a bed of thorns if she doesn’t reject the slender lad. But the girl is adamant that she’s made the right decision and the song finishes with the sweet sentiment that the sleeping in the slender lad’s arms is like paradise.

The original song (see below) has two extra verses but I’ve decided not to sing them for several reasons. I live and perform mostly in England at the moment and, although English audiences always love hearing Welsh songs, I suspect they might get bored of 6 verses in an unfamiliar language. However, the more important reason is that the 4 verse version has a happy ending. In the last two verses we hear that the lad has left the forest and gone away to sea and that he doesn’t come back. Perhaps the boy doesn’t want to  cause trouble between his lover and her mum. Perhaps he doesn’t have the backbone to stand up to his lover’s parents. Perhaps he realised that the mother was right after all and that the girl wouldn’t have been happy living in poverty in the name of love. Perhaps he didn’t want to go away at all. Whatever the reason, the story saddens from verse 5 onwards. There’ll be plenty of time for sad songs later but, for the time being, I hope you enjoy listening to this happy version of Y Bachgen Main which praises women who are brave enough to stand up to their mothers!

Lyrics

I’ll be providing literal, not poetic, translations of Welsh lyrics. If anyone would like to translate these songs more poetically I’d love to publish them so please leave a comment below!

(This translation comes from Ffynnon’s website.)

As I wandered through the fields last Tuesday of the world’s days
In a low place under a quiet wood I heard two women arguing
I drew nearer to them until I was in the same vicinity
And who was there arguing but my sweetheart and her mother.

“Dear daughter, here you are with me and your hands free
Pure and handsome and I am going to find you a match
Mount the horse my girl, a respectable man to find
And worldly goods of yellow gold and shining silver shall be yours”

“If I could share in the lands of India, the silks of Persia, the gold of Peru
I would rather the lad I love, to him I will remain true”
“Well, if that is your intention you will make your bed of thorns
Heed my words, bitterness will follow if you venture on with the slender lad”

“Well with the slender lad I will venture, mother, I’ll tell you the truth
Caution is for misers, I will go with the flowers of the county
His fair face and his yellow hair and on his cheeks two roses
Happy the girl who sleeps the night in his arms!”

Origins

The words were first published by John Jones from Llanrwst. You can see a copy of the original, including an amusing sketch of what the slender lad might have looked like, on the Cardiff University website as part of their online Welsh ballads collection.  Y Bachgen Main is number wg35.2.2928. No author is mentioned on the ballad paper, but this is not unusual. Roy Saer recorded William Rowlands singing Y Bachgen Main on his trips around the Llŷn Peninsula in the 1950s and 60s.

According to Mair Wyn Thomas from Llawrplwy’, Trawsfynydd, who wrote a letter to the Daily Post in 2006 the song is also available in the second volume of Cerddi Cymru by Abel Jones, Llanrwst. I don’t have a copy of this volume to be able to verify whether this is true. Mair also says “the tune is in Caneuon Ffydd – number 371 as ‘Cen y Bachgen Main’.

In the 1920s Alfred T. Davies from the Welsh Department of the Education Board in London established a project to collect Welsh folk songs and traditions. They planned to get Welsh head teachers to use their pupils as collectors. The children had to ask their older relatives about the songs, customs, sayings etc which they could remember. Interesting idea – I wonder if attempting something similar today would unearth some new songs. In the 1920s the Education Board’s Assistant Inspector  in Ceredigion was a man called David Thomas. He was very keen on the project so used his authority to encourage Ceredigion’s schools to take part. According to Dafydd Ifans (‘Casglu Alawon yn Ysgolion Ceredigion, 1921 – 6’, Canu Gwerin, 2010, Y Lolfa) one of the songs collected by a pupil from Pont-siân School was a song called ‘Cân Y Bachgen Main’ (The Slender Lad’s Song) but it started with ‘Fel yr oedwwn i’n rhodio’r gaeaf’ (As I wandered in winter) so perhaps this is a different song.

Where next?

Gallwch clywed Y Bachgen Main ar y CDs canlynol:

  • William Rowlands, Caneuon Plygain & Lloft-Stabal, Sain (SCD 2389), 2003
  • Ffynnon, Debatable Lands, Barcud Coch Red Kite
  • Julie Murphy a Dylan Fowler, Ffawd, Fflach Tradd ‎(CD248H), 2001
  • The Gentle Good, Yr Wylan Fry, Stiwdio Gwellt, 2012

I would very much like to hear your comments on the song, the words and this blog in general. Do you know any more about the origins of the song or any other artists who have recorded it? Do you have a favourite recording? Do you sing it with a different tune or different lyrics? Please leave comments below!

Pam? / Why?

[Scroll down for English]

Dwi’n gantores gwerin a dwi’n caru dod o hyd i ganeuon gwerin newydd: caneuon sy’n dweud straeon anarferol, caneuon sy’n peantio llun o emosiwn cryf, caneuon sy’n gwneud i mi chwerthin, caneuon sy’n dysgu fi am hanes, caneuon efo alawon peonus o drist sy’n aros efo chi o hyd a chaneuon efo geiriau anghyffredin ac annisgwyl. Dwi wedi sefydlu’r blog yma er mwyn archwilio ac arddangos caneuon Gwerin o Gymru bydd yn gweddu’r disgrifiadau hyn.

Fel arfer dwi’n dod o hyd i ganeuon newydd trwy edrych mewn cyfrolau o ganeuon gwerin neu trwy clywed rhywun arall yn canu’r gân ar CD, ar lwyfan neu mewn sesiwn. Os ydych yn clywed cân Saesneg yr hoffech chi dysgu ar lwyfan neu mewn sesiwn mae yna siawns dda y bydd tro bach ar google yn arwain chi at dudalennau efo’r geiriau, fideo ar youtube a thradofaeth ar mudcat café ynglŷn â gwreiddiau y gân. Os ydych yn lwcus bydd y canwr arbennig Jon Boden wedi recordio’r gân fel rhan o’i brosiet A Folk Song A Day bydd yn rhoi recordiad, trafodaeth a hefyd doleni at le allwch parhau i ymchwilio’r gân.

Os mai cân Cymraeg neu Cymreig sydd wedi mynd a’ch bryd mewn sesiwn neu ar CD mae’n llawer anoddach dod o hyd i eiriau neu gwybodaeth arlein. Mae nifer o ganeuon gwerin poblogaidd wedi mudo i’r genre classurol ac mae digonedd o wybodaeth ar rain. Ond os ewch haen yn ddyfnach mae chwylio am rywbeth fel ‘Dadl Dau’ neu ‘Deio Bach’ mae’n anodd iawn dod o hyd i recordiad neu geiriau, heb sôn am fideos, gwybodaeth neu trafodaeth ynglŷn a hanes ac ystyr y caneuon.

Dwi’n amau nad ydw i’r unig un sy’n teimlo rhwystredigaeth efo’r sefyllfa yma – mae nifer o aelodau Cymreig ar mudcat cafe, er enghraifft. Dwi felly wedi penderfynnu sefydlu wefan bydd, dwi’n gobeithio, yn cyflwyno pobl i ganeuon gwerin Cymreig newydd ac yn ysgogi cantorion eraill i drin a thrafod hen ganeuon Cymru.

Ar y wefan hon dwi’n bwriadu arddangos un cân gwerin o Gymru pob pythefnos. Byddaf yn darparu recordiad o fi’n ei ganu, y geiriau, trosiad bras i’r Saesneg a’r hyn o wybodaeth am y gân dwi wedi llwyddo casglu, gan gynnwys ar ba CDs gallwch ei glywed. Byddaf hefyd yn gwahodd y darllenwyr i adael sylwadau efo mwy o wybodaeth, neu gofyn cwestiynnau, am y gân. Dwi ddim yn bwriadu darparu cerddoriaeth hen nodiant: dwi’n credu taw’r ffordd gorau o ddysgu caneuon gwerin yw trwy’r glust a dwi ddim am dynnu oddi ar waith y cyhoeddwyr!

Er mwyn dewis pa ganeuon i arddangos byddaf yn edrych trwy fy llyfrau a CDs am y ganeuon llai adnabyddus dwi’n hoff ohonynt. Byddai’n pori trwy caneuon mewn archifau yn Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru yn Aberystwyth, Amgueddfa Werin Cymru Sain Ffagan a Llyfrgell Goffa Vaughan Williams yn Nhŷ Cecil Sharp, Llundain. Byddai hefyd yn hapus i dderbyn ceisiau gan bobl sy’n dilyn y blog!

Rhaid cyfaddef fan hyn mai nad am rhesymau allgarol yn unig dwi’n dechrau yn wefan hwn. Dwi wrth fy modd yn canu a does dim byd dwi’n hoffi gwell na’r teimlad o ddarparu profiad cerddorol newydd i gynulleidfa a dwi felly yn gobeithio bydd addo i recordio a chyhoeddi 1 cân pop pythefnos yn fy sbarduno i ddysgu mwy o ganeuon. Dwi’n gobeithio bydd y blog yma yn ffordd i ailgysylltu ac i chwarae rhan yn y gymdeithas gwerin yng Nghymru hyd yn oed os mai dim ond y gymdeithas rhithwir yw hi ar hyn o’r bryd. Dwi hefyd yn gobeithio bydd y brosiect yma yn arwain at fwy o gigs i fi a fy ngrŵp gwerin, The Foxglove Trio!

Dwi’n edrych ymlaen at ddechrau’r brosiect – at rannu caneuon ac adeiladu cymdeithas arlein newydd lle gall pobl trafod a dod o hyd i ganeuon gwerin Cymreig. Dwi’n bwriadu postio fy nghân cyntaf ar 21 Mehefin sef diwrnod canol hâf. Dewch yn ôl bryd hynny i ddarganfod pa gân fydd hi…

ENGLISH STARTS HERE

I’m a folk singer and I love finding new folk songs: songs which tell unusual stories, songs which paint a picture of extreme emotions, songs which make me laugh, songs which teach me something about history, songs with painfully beautiful tunes which stay with you and songs with strange and unexpected lyrics. I’ve set up this blog to explore and showcase folk songs from Wales which fit some of these descriptions.

I usually find new songs by looking in folk song books or through hearing someone singing on CDs, on stage or in sessions. If you hear an English song you like on stage or in a session there’s a good chance that a quick google search will bring you to a page with the words, a youtube video and a discussion on mudcat café about the origins of the song. If you’re lucky, Jon Boden, the prolific folk singer, will have recorded the song as part of his A Folk Song A Day project, providing a recording, discussion and also links to where you can continue researching the song.

If it’s a Welsh song that’s taken your fancy in a session or on a CD it’s a lot harder to find lyrics and information online. There’s a number of popular folk songs which have been subsumed into the classical genre and it’s easy enough to find information on these. But dig a little deeper and look for something like ‘Dadl Dau’ or ‘Deio Bach’ and it’s much harder to come across recordings or words, let alone videos, information or a discussion on the songs’ history and meaning.

I suspect I’m not the only one who feels frustrated by this situation and I’ve therefore decided to set up a website which will hopefully inspire discussion and introduce people to new Welsh folk songs. On this website I intend to showcase one Welsh folk song a Fortnight. I’ll provide a recording of myself singing the song, the lyrics, a literal translation and the information I’ve managed to collate, including on which CDs it appears. I’ll also invite readers to leave comments with more information, or to ask questions, about the song. I’m not going to provide musical notation; I believe it’s better to learn folk songs aurally and I don’t want to put any publishers out of a job!

In order to decide which songs to showcase I will look through my books and CDs for my favourite less well known songs. I’ll be searching through songs in archives in the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, the National History Museum in St Fagans and the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library in Cecil Sharp House, London. I’ll also be happy to take requests from people following the blog!

I should admit at this point that I’m not setting up this website for purely altruistic reasons. I love singing and think there’s nothing better than the feeling of providing an audience with a new musical experience so I’m hoping that making a public promise to learn and record one song a week will encourage me to learn more songs. I hope the blog will allow me to reconnect with and to play a role in the Welsh folk community, even if it’s only the virtual community at the moment. I also hope this project might lead to more gig bookings for me and for my folk band, The Foxglove Trio!

I’m looking forward to getting started with sharing songs and building a new online community where people can discover and discuss Welsh folk songs. I’m aiming to post my first song on 21 June – Midsummer’s day. Come back then to find out which song it will be…

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